Ana Eusse

UNCW Student Reflects: After 42 Years, is Roe a Reality?

By Ana Eusse, MSW Student and NARAL Pro-Choice NC Campus Representative at UNCW 

As we celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, those of us who support choice must ask if choice is a possibility if there isn’t an ability to access reproductive care. When healthcare is seen as a commodity, as opposed to a human right, the lack of access to full reproductive health access cannot be ignored, and it is imperative that we take that into account when advocating for choice.

This is particularly true when advocating for choice in poor communities and communities of color. The lack of access to women of color and poor women results in truly not having a true choice. Women of color, immigrant women (both citizen and non-citizen), and poor women have higher rates of unplanned pregnancies, yet lack the resources to have an abortion. Many of these women never had access to the tools to stop them from getting pregnant.

Many think Roe has guaranteed access to abortion. It has and does not. The government’s control over poor women’s choice through legislation that denies using federal funds for abortions, like the Hyde Amendment, creates the lack of access for women who desperately need access to abortion. Subsequent legislation, such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, has allowed federal and state governments to erect further roadblocks impeding choice and preventing access for far too many people.

As a woman of color and a Health Care Assistant for Planned Parenthood, I am a witness to the struggles of women of all backgrounds who seek access to abortion care. These struggles include finding support in complete outsiders because her family and own community would never accept her making her own decisions; finding financial support to move forward with the procedure; and most importantly, removing the stigma associated when choosing to have an abortion. Unfortunately, the realities for women who seek to have an abortion are the institutional barriers such as government, religion, and gender that actively seek to remove not only access but also the fundamental choice itself. In preventing access, the government is completely overriding the Roe v. Wade decision and denying women the right to have bodily autonomy. 11Ana Eusse

Women really only have a choice when that choice is mirrored by access. Unfortunately, for many women the reality of having a choice is only the first step in deciding whether we can have an abortion. Once a choice is made, thanks to the Casey decision, the next step consists of conducting research to ensure you have the money for travel (including gas and lodging), as the closest clinic could be hundreds of miles away, possible childcare, time away from work, and then of course paying for the actual procedure which begins as high as $400. For the average poor woman, finding out whether she will have enough for food or gas everyday is a constant struggle, and when it comes to her own body, she can be discouraged from even recognizing what she CHOOSES because, well, there is just not access.

Concerned about deceptive advertising on campus that misleads students into believing CPCs offer comprehensive reproductive care? Please sign here: bit.ly/StopCPCAds

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NARAL Pro-Choice NC Student Allies Reflect on the Reality of Roe

“It has now been 42 years since Roe v. Wade, and we are still facing significant hurdles when it comes to our reproductive freedoms. I personally feel limited by the lack of information on my campus regarding abortion access. Our health services center, usually comprehensive and helpful, has zero information on abortion referrals on their website and in their lobby, but is eager to refer students to the crisis pregnancy center that is located half a mile from campus. Support and access is crucial for all women, but students at college campuses unquestionably have the right to be supported by their academic institution with regards to healthcare. ASU should provide a broad array of information and referrals for abortion services, not send students to a deceptive anti-choice “clinic”. I would personally feel much more at-ease knowing that my university would support me and guide me through the process if I chose to get an abortion.”

-Anna Lobastova, NARAL Pro-Choice NC Volunteer and Appalachian State University Senior

“I couldn’t imagine living in a time or a place where I felt as if my body and what I chose to do with it was controlled by legislation. Thanks to Roe v. Wade, women have the right to make their own choices about abortion. Trying to take away a woman’s right to choose is like telling someone that they can’t wear green just because YOU don’t think that it’s a pretty color. Well, I hate to break it to you but what really matters is what they think because it’s their body, not yours. People turn a woman’s right to choose, whether or not she wants to carry a fetus to full term, into a public decision, when it’s a personal matter. Personal issues like that have no place in legislation. Those who argue that they do, should think about how it would make them feel if their public lives were announced to the whole world. Instead of being judgmental of others, I think they should spend some time educating themselves on the facts: abortion is not unsafe, and it is not uncommon. Abortion is safer than having your tonsils removed and 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Reproductive care is a right that all women have and should receive. Whether it comes in the form of abortions, birth control, adoptions, or parenting, the right to an educated and well-informed decision should be given to everyone. When people try to place restrictions on access to reproductive health care, it is essentially denying a woman the right to make her own choices about her body, which is not okay. Due to the ruling of Roe v. Wade it is still legal for women to make decisions about their own bodies, but just because it is legal, does not mean it’s accessible.”

-Ashton Billingsley, NARAL Pro-Choice NC Intern and NC State University Junior

“Why is the 42 year old Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade important to me as a young woman? Because I am a person capable of making informed choices for myself. Because I know that the “rights” I have been given only allow me to agree with decisions that have already been made which are more than likely not to be in my favor. But most importantly because I am a woman. A woman who knows that on this 42nd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade we have come so far in a fight that is not over. The fight making sure women, men, and families alike have knowledge on reproductive rights outside of what they are being told or what is in the news. It’s making sure the information being provided is clear and medically sound. And lastly that everything from general information about reproductive rights to birth control, abortion, pregnancy care, and adoption agencies are accessible. Let’s make equality a thing and Roe a reality. FOR ALL.”

-Raven Deas, NARAL Pro-Choice NC Intern and NC State University Junior

If you are concerned about deceptive advertising on campus that misleads students into believing CPCs offer comprehensive reproductive health care please sign NARAL NC’s petition: bit.ly/StopCPCAds

No Access = No Choice

Let’s Make Roe a Reality for All

By Suzanne Buckley

Today is the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court established that the constitutional right to privacy encompasses the right to choose whether to end a pregnancy. Each year around the anniversary of the Roe, we reflect on how the decision dramatically bolstered women’s health and dignity. But too often we overlook the reality that the legal “right” to abortion care is meaningless if it’s been restricted to the point that it’s out of reach.

At NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, we believe that wherever we live, however much we make, each of us must be able to make our own decisions about pregnancy and parenting. When we support and respect that reproductive health decisions are ours to make, we are all stronger. Instead of restricting reproductive health care – including abortion care – we need solutions to improve all aspects of our health. But across the country and closer to home, politicians are creating new barriers that often make abortion services unaffordable or unavailable.

Politicians in our state have used bans on abortion coverage, waiting periods, medically inaccurate scripts, and medically unnecessary laws to make abortion harder to access, and more expensive. The reality is that these regulations do nothing to make abortion safer or help a woman with her decision—they only serve to make accessing abortion care and other basic reproductive health care services more costly and difficult for the most vulnerable in our state.

For too many women and families in our state, Roe simply is not a reality.

Roe is not a reality for many working families and those struggling to make ends meet. In 2013, Governor McCrory signed into law a bill banning state and municipal governments from offering abortion care coverage to their employees, denying comprehensive reproductive health care coverage to over 367,000 women and families. The governor also signed into law a bill banning abortion coverage in health plans offered through the insurance exchanges. Added to these new laws are those already on the books, eliminating the state abortion fund and only allowing state funding for abortion care in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment.

Roe is not a reality for the fifty-seven percent of North Carolinians who live in the 90% of counties in our state with no abortion care provider. Nor is Roe a reality for the thousands of rural women who live in the Western part of our state, who now have to cross state lines or travel hundreds of miles to the nearest abortion clinic. For too many North Carolinians, their personal reproductive health care decisions are limited by their ability to travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, make multiple visits to a doctor, and find child care.

We must make Roe a reality for all. It’s time to secure reproductive justice for all and to stop the terrible inequities that restrict reproductive health options, including abortion care. Instead of limiting reproductive health care options, we need solutions that improve health and improve a woman’s ability to make the best reproductive health decisions for her circumstances, such as lifting bans on abortion coverage for low-income women and expanding access to comprehensive reproductive health care.

There is no doubt we will continue to face challenges this year just to hold the line in the state policy debate when it comes to reproductive health, rights and justice. But we believe there has also never been a better time to change the conversation about abortion, access to health care, paid family leave, and other reproductive justice issues. Instead of allowing the conversation to be dragged to the right by our anti-choice legislature, we must start a new conversation to once again spark imaginations about building strong communities through policies that empower individuals to make the health decisions best for them. Indeed, this conversation already has started in crowds at Moral Monday rallies, on campuses across the state, and among the young leaders who gathered at NARAL Pro-Choice NC, El Pueblo, YES! and SisterSong’s Reproductive Justice Youth Summit last summer.

The bottom line: If the guarantee of Roe v. Wade is to ever have real meaning for all the women of North Carolina, we must continue to lift our voices and speak out in support of our vision for reproductive health, rights and justice in our state.

Suzanne Buckley is the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice NC. Follow her on Twitter: @Hsbuckles

Maddie Headshot

ASU Senior Reflects: 42 Years of Roe, Legality ≠ Access

By Maddie Majerus, Former NARAL Pro-Choice NC Intern and Appalachian State University Senior

Tomorrow marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that protects a person’s right to reproductive choice. Deciding when to start a family is one of the most fundamental elements to a person’s autonomy and plays a hugely significant role in shaping the future of their life. I have only ever known a post-Roe society, but just because abortions are legal does not mean they are easily accessible for people in our state who need one.

The debate boils down to legality versus access. Yes, getting an abortion is completely legal in our state and in our country, but our politicians continue to place unnecessary restrictions on abortion, making it complicated for people to get one. Medically unnecessary laws, such as ones that dictate the width of door frames in clinics or that demand a person seeking an abortion receive counseling aimed to discourage them from getting an abortion, do not serve to benefit and support the people seeking abortions; they serve as obstacles for people trying to obtain a legal medical procedure. Many people live hours away from abortion clinics, making it hard or impossible for someone who does not have access to a car, or someone who cannot afford to take a lot of time off work, to travel to a clinic. Imagine if every time you went to the dentist or needed to go to the hospital, you were looking at a six hour round trip. Would you feel as though you had access to that medical care?

On top of that, trying to find a real abortion clinic in North Carolina is tricky. Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) outnumber abortion clinics in our state 8 to 1. CPCs present themselves as medical centers in the hopes of getting people who are looking for abortions in their doors so that they may try to discourage them from getting an abortion. Most do not disclose that they are not medical centers, or that they do not provide abortions. CPCs use tactics, such as telling a pregnant person they are not as far along in their pregnancy as they actually are, making the person think they have more time to make a decision or get money together for an abortion, in an attempt to “run out the clock” on the state’s law on the week limit to which you can get an abortion. CPCs use words and language on their website so that if someone looks up words like “abortion, pregnant, abortion clinic” on an internet search engine, a CPC’s website will pop up, even though they do not offer abortion services or referrals. CPCS misrepresent themselves, and they know it. The Executive Director of my local CPC came to speak at one of my college classes last semester, and he told us, “If you walk into our Center, you’re never going to know we’re a Christian organization, and that’s on purpose.”

Maddie HeadshotI go to school at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and the CPC mentioned above is less than a mile from our campus. This CPC has billboards throughout Boone, banners on the sides of the buses that provide transportation for a majority of ASU students, and even “free pregnancy test” coupons in a coupon booklet put in every student’s on-campus PO box. None of these ads disclose that they are not a medical facility, that they do not perform abortions, or that they do not give abortion referrals. ASU Health Services, which I have used for years and consider to be an excellent establishment, provides zero information on abortions on their website, no materials regarding abortion in their lobby, and when I called asking for information regarding abortion referral, they sent me to the CPC.

This is unacceptable. I should be able to seek healthcare information without worrying about my provider’s ulterior motives. I should be able to access all reproductive choice options without planning a road trip and taking significant time off from work and school. Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision, but our fight for reproductive justice is far from over.

If you are concerned about deceptive advertising on campus that misleads students into believing CPCs offer comprehensive reproductive health care please sign NARAL NC’s petition: bit.ly/StopCPCAds

 

Now more than ever

By Allison Rackley, Legal & Policy Fellow

Thursday, January 22 marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States. However, since 1973 anti-choice lawmakers have worked tirelessly to pass legislation blocking women’s access to safe and legal abortion care. According to the Guttmacher Institute, state legislatures have enacted 231 abortion restrictions in just the last four years. Women in North Carolina were affected when in 2013 the infamous Motorcycle Safety Bill was rushed through the NC House and Senate after sweeping abortion restrictions were quietly added to the bill.
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The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a 20-week abortion ban on January 22nd – the anniversary of the landmark decision protecting safe and legal abortion care. On both the state and national level, women’s health and safety is under attack. We know that these restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion care doesn’t stop it the need for abortion care, but it does make abortion unsafe.

Now more than ever since the Roe decision, the majority of Americas who support access to safe and legal abortion care must speak out and stand up to the increasingly hostile environment women and healthcare providers face in obtaining and providing safe, legal abortion care before it’s too late.

Lela

NCSU Senior Reflects: After 42 Years, is Roe a Reality?

By Lela Johnston, NARAL Pro-Choice NC Intern and NC State University Senior 

This week we recognize the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects a woman’s right to reproductive choice. Reproductive decisions extend far beyond the doctor’s office. A woman’s right to control her reproductive health is the most basic and critical element of her autonomy. Without this fundamental human right, women’s voices are silenced, their independence is threatened, and ultimately, political, economic, and social gender equality is still just a distant possibility. Forty-two years ago the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. legally recognized my right to control my own body. And while I’m grateful that I have grown up in a post-Roe society, its legal precedent has still yet to be fully transformed into a reality.

Roe’s legal acknowledgement of a woman’s right to choose has not ensured equal access to reproductive healthcare. Since Roe prevents our General Assembly from entirely outlawing abortion, the legislature has instead passed restrictive legislation. These restrictions include requiring women seeking abortion care to undergo distressing mandatory ultrasounds and medically unnecessary laws like dictating the width of a clinic’s door frames. Even here on NC State’s campus, a lack of equal and accurate medical information serves as yet another barrier to a woman’s right to make informed healthcare decisions. Our Women’s Health Center offers information on Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) but limited information on abortion and adoption care. These so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”, masquerading as comprehensive health clinics, often manipulate pregnant women by providing biased and medically inaccurate information on abortion and birth control. Our own Women’s Health Center has pamphlets for CPCs in its waiting room but little information on other reproductive health options.Lela

As a student, as a woman, and as a human being, I deserve better. I deserve to attend a public university that provides comprehensive and factual healthcare information. I deserve to attend a university that respects my reproductive autonomy and my dignity. I deserve to live in a state that allows me to make my own healthcare choices, free from coercion and intrusive regulation. I deserve to attend a university in a state that upholds and protects my right to make the safest and most informed decisions about my own body. Forty-two years after Roe legally established this right, the fight for reproductive justice for all women is not over.

 

If you are concerned about deceptive advertising on campus that misleads students into believing CPCs offer comprehensive reproductive health care please sign NARAL NC’s petition: bit.ly/StopCPCAds

Women's-Health-First

Tell DHHS: Put Women’s Health FIRST

On Friday, December 19, the Department of Health is holding a public hearing on proposed regulations for abortion clinics in North Carolina and we need your help.

Stand with us at Dorothea Dix Campus in Raleigh on Friday morning December 19 Pledge to join us on December 19 and we’ll send you the details on where to meet and what to bring as we stand up for women’s health and abortion access.

For the last 18 months, we’ve been working hard to amplify the voices of women’s health experts, abortion providers, and concerned North Carolinians who believe that women’s health, safety and wellbeing – not a political agenda – should come first. Help us make sure that the Department of Health puts women’s health FIRST!

Can’t make it to Raleigh on December 19Here are THREE ways you make your voice heard:

  1. Pledge to post a public comment now through January 30
  2. Take social media by storm!  Tweet at @NC_DHHS and urge them to #PutWomensHealthFirst
  3. Host a rally in your town.  Click here and we’ll show you how.

As always, thank you for your commitment to protecting reproductive rights for all North Carolinians.